A Boulder wildlife tv icon who created the long-running and extremely profitable Wild America present filed a lawsuit claiming that a number of of Nationwide Geographic’s wildlife TV applications mimic his reveals so carefully that it crosses a authorized boundary and quantities to copyright infringement.
Marty Stouffer filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court docket in Denver towards Nationwide Geographic Companions (NGP)and 5 affiliated entities together with NGC Community Worldwide on Wednesday claiming the defendants copied his applications in such a means that it quantities to unfair and unlawful competitors.
Stouffer is in search of an unspecified financial award together with triple damages, based on Denver attorneys Jeffrey Southerland and Alan Felts and Greensboro, N.C. lawyer Tuggle Duggins.
Cellphone and e mail messages to NGP in search of touch upon Thursday weren’t instantly returned.
Wild America is probably the most broadcast TV present in Public Broadcasting Service historical past and probably the most profitable nature and wildlife documentary tv sequence ever produced, the lawsuit stated.
Nationwide Geographic, with headquarters in Washington D.C., copied a lot of Wild America’s applications over time together with the 1972 documentary “Bighorn!” and the 1977 prime-time community particular, “The Predators,” narrated by actor Robert Redford, the lawsuit stated. The Predators had a viewing viewers of 26 million.
In 1980, brothers Mark and Marty Stouffer created the half-hour documentary tv sequence referred to as Wild America, which explored North American wildlife. They registered the Wild America mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Workplace in 1982, the lawsuit stated. Wild America produced 132 TV reveals and a 1997 film referred to as Wild America.
Initially, Nationwide Geographic employed Mark Stouffer in 1995 to provide a half dozen community specials. He continued to work for the corporate till 2002. In 2010, Nationwide Geographic launched the Nat Geo WILD channel. In 2010 and 2011, NGP and the Stouffers mentioned getting into a licensing or buying settlement, the lawsuit stated. No settlement was reached.
A Nationwide Geographic govt emailed the Stouffers in search of permission to title a miniseries, “Wild Americas,” or “Wildest Americas.” The Stouffers declined saying the names have been too near their trademarked Wild America, the lawsuit stated.
In 2012, Nationwide Geographic launched a documentary referred to as “Untamed Americas,” in america, it stated. Outdoors the U.S. the identical sequence is marketed as “Wild America.”
“The packaging for the sequence is sort of indistinguishable from MSP’s Wild America,” the lawsuit stated.
In 2013, Nationwide Geographic launched a brand new tv sequence titled America the Wild.
“America the Wild bears a putting resemblance to Wild America, replicating probably the most minute particulars of Wild America in its manufacturing,” the lawsuit stated.
For instance, America the Wild host Casey Anderson mimics interactions between himself and a bear in the identical means Marty Stouffer and a grizzly bear he raised from a cub had achieved a few years earlier. Nationwide Geographic additionally copied the enduring Wild America picture of two huge horn sheep head-butting each other in sluggish movement, the lawsuit stated.
“The similarities between America the Wild and Wild America are wide-ranging, together with an uncanny similarity between every present’s host,” the lawsuit stated.
Nationwide Geographic additionally has launched comparable merchandise referred to as “Surviving Wild America” that includes two Australian hosts exploring the Okefenokee Swamp in 2014 and in March a documentary sequence referred to as “America’s Wild Frontier.”
The Stouffers invested greater than $24.5 million in promoting and constructing the identify of Wild America over a span of 30 years and it has been seen by billions of individuals. Now Nationwide Geographic is illegally capitalizing on their good will, the lawsuit stated.
“Because of the Nationwide Geographic defendants’ actions, shoppers have been wrongly diverted away from MSP’s Wild America in quite a lot of advertising shops,” the lawsuit stated.